“… testimonial injustice occurs when “prejudice on the hearer’s part causes him to give the speaker less credibility than he would otherwise have given.” (Fricker p 4) The speaker sustains such a testimonial injustice if and only if she receives a credibility deficit owing to identity prejudice in the hearer; so the central case of testimonial injustice is identity-prejudicial credibility deficit. (Fricker 27)
To fix these ideas, think of the black person who is disbelieved by the police, the woman whose charge of rape is disbelieved, and rejected by a jury, and the person whose accent causes their knowledge claims to be disbelieved, and preventing them form getting an elite academic post.
What sort of injustices are these?
Identity-prejudicial credibility deficit is strongly evident in sexist and misogynist attitudes to women who are victims of rape. Because of the adversarial nature of the judicial system, the prosecutorial role of the police, and because of misogynistic attitudes on the part of juries, it seems very likely that women are victims of testimonial injustice in this way: women are not believed. Why not? The misogynist story is familiar: the woman who cried rape had, in fact, had consenting sex with her alleged attacker, but then regretted it, and attempted to get out of difficulty by making a false accusation of rape. This is the sort of thought entertained by, it seems, very many juries.
The next point in the argument is straightforwardly concessive. One, sometimes, probably, a few people do aim to deflect criticism of Israel, by making false allegations of anti-Semitism. Two, sometimes, probably, a few women do try to get out of exculpate their own behaviour, by making false accusations of rape. It’s not plausible to say neither of these things ever happen.
But what is, and what should be, the general attitude of those on the left to such phenomena? What is the case is this: we are attuned to the idea that we ought to listen carefully and sympathetically to women who make charges of rape. We ought to listen to the victims, attend to their concerns, establish an environment in which they can safely articulate their narrative. And we maintain this general stance in the knowledge that, yes, perhaps in a very few cases, the charge may be false.
But the attitude of the anti-Zionist left towards those who make charges of anti-semitism is the opposite. The raising of concern about anti-semitism gets you the Livingstone manoeuvre. This is the general stance, which does not sit carefully with, but fully draws on the idea that, yes, perhaps in a vey few cases the charge may be ill-intentioned and false. The general stance on the left is to attribute a credibility deficit here.”